As much as you may hate to admit it, summer will come to an end. Autumn slips in, with that recognizable chill in the air and the fluttering leaves falling from trees to the ground, where you’ll have to rake them.
Nature has its way of putting the summer plants to rest before the cold weather arrives. But you still can make it easier to wake it from the winter hibernation by following this fall lawn and garden clean-up checklist.
Lawn and garden clean-up
- Rake your garden beds, getting rid of the dead annuals, weeds, and other debris that can attract bugs.
- Fertilize your lawn between September and mid-October to feed it essential nutrients before the winter.
- Resist the temptation to prune your trees and bushes. This action encourages new growth, which will die during the winter. The best time to prune is in the early spring, at the start of the growth season.
- Gently till the garden soil, which both aerates it and exposes insects that will survive the winter underground.
- If you plan to plant a new garden bed in the spring, cover the area with plastic or mulch to prevent further growth.
- For the final mowing of the fall, set your mower to cut the grass shorter.
- Prepare garden beds now for spring planting by testing and amending the soil with compost, and adding a layer of mulch to prevent weeds in the spring.
- Remove and discard any diseased plants; don’t mulch or compost them.
- Remove any delicate bulbs or tubers that won’t survive the winter, like dahlias and gladioli. Dig them up and store the bulbs in brown paper bags or newspaper in a dry area. For further protection, pack the wrapped plants in Styrofoam peanuts.
- Once the ground has hardened, cut back the stems of hardy perennials to no more than three inches in height. Blanket them with mulch or straw for protection.
- If you have some crowding in your perennials, dig up the bulbs, divide the root ball, and transplant portions.
- Plant the spring-blooming bulbs before the ground hardens.
- Drain the fuel from your lawn mower, trimmer, and any other garden power tools.
- Clean the blades and handles of your garden tools.
- Drain your hoses before rolling up and storing them.
- Clean the birdfeeders.
A little extra effort now will save you more time in the spring!